Growing up in Palestine what was your experience of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), did you receive sex education?
Although I do not recall specifically, I think it would have to have been sometime in my early teens. Although that was quite a while back, I went to a Quakers school in Palestine, and I do recall a visit from a health worker to our classroom to explain to us about family planning methods and protected sex.
What led to your interest in sexual and reproductive health?
I was always a strong supporter of women’s rights; however, it was not until I began working with PFPPA that I actually became specifically aware and developed an in-depth interest in SRHR.
Noting that although I joined the PFPPA team as a Financial Director, it was clear from the start that my role would be more than just that. I was passionate of what we were working towards, and the more information I gained the more passionate I became, I felt that what I was working towards was reflecting what I truly believe in. I found a way to support a joint goal with colleagues, not only locally and nationally but also globally through the IPPF.
How would you describe your role as Executive Director (ED) of PFPPA?
Responsibility, leadership, management, supervising, delegating, following up, monitoring, evaluating, responsibility, transparency, accountability.
How did you incorporate all these leadership skills in the recent emergency response following the airstrikes in Gaza?
Being a leader, and as the ED, I think it was truly one of my main responsibilities to be accountable both to the community (the people in Gaza) and to the donor providing the money.
We got in contact with our service providers that were living in the zone - some of them had their homes effected during the attacks on Gaza - and we were asking them what the best and safest way is to deal with it and what is best for everyone. Together we agreed on the best approach to provide sexual and reproductive services. This was a joint venture; I know what’s happening in the field from the service providers, and that they are the real heroes and I have a huge responsibility to my team. We try to be as transparent and accountable as possible.
For us as an association, working since 1964, we have been providing services within a protracted humanitarian crisis setting for decades. This has made us stronger and increased our commitment to ensure continuity to provide essential services regardless of the difficulties we encounter.